Yesterday, Wolf Blitzer had Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile on to discuss the political ramifications from the following shocking statement from Hillary:
BLITZER: Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, making a major statement today on the situation in Iraq and the implications involving Iran. Joining us, our two CNN political analysts. Donna Brazile is a Democratic strategist. Bay Buchanan is president of American Cause.
She was on the Senate floor, and she had this message for President Bush. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: If the administration believes than any — any use of force against Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Donna, what’s her strategy behind this?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there’s no question that the Senate believes that the president must come back — if he — if he decides to do anything in Iran, he must come back and get a new resolution.
And I think Senator Clinton is echoing what other senators, like Harry Reid and Mr. Wyden on your show this weekend — they believe that the Senate must come back to the United States Senate and the Congress to get authorization.
BLITZER: What do you think?
BAY BUCHANAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There’s no question the president has to go back to the Congress to get authorization.
A couple of thoughts:
1) Barring some sort of provocation, we’re not going to go to war with Iran. Bush has said so, Gates has said so, Tony Snow has said so.
2) What’s so “major” about Hillary’s statement?
3) So what’s Hillary’s policy on Iran? Her latest floor statement is here; some excerpts:
Now, make no mistake, Iran poses a threat to our allies and our interests in the region and beyond, including the United States. The Iranian president has held a conference denying the Holocaust and has issued bellicose statement after bellicose statement calling for Israel and the United States to be wiped off the map. His statements are even more disturbing and urgent when viewed in the context of the regime’s request to acquire nuclear weapons. The regime also uses its influence and resources in the region to support terrorist elements that attack Israel. Hezbollah’s attack on Israel this summer, using Iranian weapons, clearly demonstrates Iran’s malevolent influence even beyond its borders. We also have evidence, although it is by no means conclusive, of attacks using Iranian-supplied or manufactured weaponry against our own American soldiers. As I have long said and will continue to say, U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat, as I’ve also said for a long time, no option can be taken off the table.
All good stuff. Despite all that, it appears Hillary supports reestablishing diplomatic relations with Iran. Maybe I’m putting words into her mouth, but her statement is rather vague:
The President owes an on-going consultation to this Congress and owes straight talk to the country. We have to get this right. The Congress should debate our current course, including the current silent-treatment policy toward our adversaries. I believe we can better understand how to deal with an adversary such as Iran if we have some direct contact with them. I think that can give us valuable information and better leverage to hold over the Iranian regime. And if we ever must, with Congressional agreement, take drastic action, we should make clear to the world that we have exhausted every other possibility.
Also, interestingly, Senator Clinton is pretty much applauding the deal with North Korea.
I welcome the agreement announced yesterday between the United States and North Korea. It demonstrates the central value of using every tool in our arsenal to achieve our objectives. I only wish the Administration had pursued this course six years ago when an agreement with North Korea was within reach. The wasted time has allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons in the interim. Failure to use diplomacy has damaged our national security interests. The important step forward our country has made with North Korea raises the obvious question: Why will the President refuse to have any kind of process involving Iran as I and others have urged? The United States engaged in talks with North Korea within a multilateral process, but also had ongoing bilateral discussions. We should have such a process of direct engagement with Iran, as recommended by many, including the Iraq Study Group. We need friends and allies to stand with us in this long war against terrorism and extremism, and to contain and alter the regimes that harbor and support those who would harm us. During the cold war, we spoke to the Soviet Union while thousands of missiles were pointed at our cities, while its leaders threatened to bury us, while the regime sewed discord and military uprisings and actions against us and our allies. That was a smart strategy used by Republican and Democratic Presidents alike, even though it was often a difficult one.
I’m undecided on the merits of the latest deal – I’m still wary about whether there is enough verification, and fear that it will be interpreted as the latest capitulation to extortion – but regarding Hillary’s criticism, what, exactly, have we lost in the intervening six years? How has our national security really been harmed in the past six years by North Korea? Isn’t their nuclear arsenal rather shaky? Wasn’t the big boom of last year an extraordinarily low-yield? In fact, hasn’t the saber-rattling by Kim Jong-Il actually managed to bring China closer to our position? Aren’t our relations with South Korea and Japan actually strengthened by facing this emerging threat together? Aren’t we better off if Japan begins to take its own national security seriously?
Again, I get irritated when people speak as if our lack of diplomatic relations with Iran is the result of us being in a snit. Our lack of a formal relationship with Iran didn’t happen in a vacuum! It’s because they raided our embassy and took our citizens hostage for 444 days!
UPDATE: Completely unrelated to anything, this vision of the future – specifically January 21, 2009 – made me laugh.